New York Builder 'Working Smarter' and 'Standing Out' with ConstructionOffice
Sutton Hill Homes
White Plains, New York
When New York resident and owner of Sutton Hill Homes, Nico Sarelli, was looking for project management software, he knew exactly what he needed. "First, I knew that I didn't want to purchase or use individual parts - just estimating or just contracts - I wanted a whole suite that deals with construction, and I wanted it to be integrated. Second, I wanted the ability to manipulate the data - if there was a template, I wanted to add my own text and customize it for my business."
With components designed for a variety of construction projects, UDA ConstructionOffice Professional was Nico's choice for his residential construction company. Complete with integrated estimating, scheduling, contracts, specifications, and document management, Nico's version of ConstructionOffice has spurred substantial growth in his business.
But before he became a UDA Technologies customer in 2003, Nico tried a different brand of project management software. "We spent $2700 on [other construction software], and I hated it. It was too complicated. It was like I had to take training classes - and I don't have time for that unless it is really worthwhile. For something like this, where I'm not even sure if I'm going to like the software, I just don't want to spend the time."
But even after using ConstructionOffice for a short time, Nico knew that it was a better fit for his company than the other project management software. "We found that using UDA ConstructionOffice let us spend more time on more important things in our business."
ConstructionOffice is designed to be easy to use, so Nico was able to utilize his time benefiting from the software right away rather than climbing a steep learning curve. "I haven't had to use the manual as of yet. I'm the type of person who just plays around with software, and that's how I've learned it." Using this method, it still only took him about a month to use the more advanced features. "If you know Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel, then ConstructionOffice is easy to use. The only reason it took me a month to get really comfortable using it is that I was just playing around. Now I use it on a daily basis."
Nico says that by using ConstructionOffice as a standard part of his business operation, he has been able to save his company valuable time. "I like how the applications - such as estimating and scheduling - work together. That, combined with the project organization, has allowed us to complete our jobs quicker. The [other software] didn't work as well, but ConstructionOffice has helped us tremendously in completing our jobs and projects a lot faster. Ever since I started using it, I've been able to complete my projects early, go home early, and spend more time with my wife and three kids."
Of the many time-saving features in ConstructionOffice, Nico often utilizes the easy-to-use wizards. "I especially like the wizards that are built into the software. I just click on them and they input all of my information - they do everything for me." One of the wizards that he uses on a regular basis is the UDA Specifications Wizard, which can produce a spec book with up to 90 pages of in-depth content. "I love the spec wizard - it makes it quick and easy to change the data. In the past, we used only 3 or 4 pages of specs, but the UDA Specifications are very detailed."
"There's more of a comfort level when our customers see a professional, 20-page spec book that's customized for their home - they look at it and think 'Oh wow, they're doing a lot for us'. They like the fact that we're giving them that much information because then they know exactly what they're getting for their money. It's just better when they can see it for themselves."
Nico has been pleased with his investment in ConstructionOffice, and he plans to expand his company's adoption of the software to a network version in the near future. "I wanted to test drive the software for a while before getting a bigger version. Now that I've used ConstructionOffice and seen real benefits, I'm ready to get my staff using it, too." ConstructionOffice is available in a variety of versions designed to meet the diverse and growing needs of its users, a fact that Nico is using to his company's advantage.
"I've been doing this full time for about 5 years. Before I started, I didn't have much familiarity with the construction industry. Using UDA ConstructionOffice has added a tremendous amount of knowledge for me in just getting to know what construction is all about."
Based on his past experiences starting a new company and trying another project management system, Nico has some advice for other professionals in the industry: "Before you spend thousands of dollars, do your research thoroughly - don't make the mistake I did by purchasing software and not realizing that you're not able to use it to your satisfaction. It's very important to verify that the software has everything you want in one platform. If you want to make life easy for you and your business, ensure that your software has the capabilities that allow you to work smarter."
Choosing ConstructionOffice as his project management software was certainly a smart decision for Nico. "ConstructionOffice has allowed me to stand out from my competition. We're a small company, but we don't look like we're working out of a pickup truck. It gives us that professional look that show's we're serious about our business, and that's what I like about UDA."
Quick Facts about Sutton Hill Homes
Location: White Plains, New York
Industry: Residential Construction
Projects per year: 12
Years in the business: 6
Number of Employees: 7